Accessible toilets – interesting article in SMH today

Jane Caferella has an interesting article in the SMH today. It’s really about a National Disability Insurance Scheme, but it begins with some observations on non-disabled people using accessible toilets. I’ve joined the discussion, which is quite willing. You can find the article, and the discussion, at:

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/guilty-of-using-the-disabled-loo-make-your-amends-here-20101108-17kg2.html.

Here’s my comment…

All you folks who use accessible toilets and say ‘well, the disabled can wait like the rest of us’ are missing the point. You have choices. You can move to another cubicle, or another level in the building, or another building altogether, if you need to. It is an inconvenience, it takes a little time, but that’s the extent of your suffering. People in wheelchairs, and others who need accessible toilets have no such choice. They may have planned for hours, knowing the toilet in that venue is the only one they can use in the area. To arrive, busting, and find that the toilet is occupied, is more than inconvenient. Especially for folks with bladder or bowel urgency.

I’ll admit, I’m less concerned about parents with prams and strollers full of babies and toddlers. Venues should provide parents’ rooms, and when they don’t, I think parents deserve to cut a little slack. 

For those who say ‘I’ve never seen a disabled person using those toilets’, well, I have; many times. But not as often as I’ve been using one myself and had someone pound on the door and tell me to hurry up – only to find an able-bodied person waiting outside when I emerge. I’m constantly surprised by how lacking in guilt their face is.

Simple rule – if you don’t need them, don’t use them. Better still, venues should install the MLAK lock system on accessible toilets. This system is the best guarantee that toilets are not used by people looking only to save time.

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2 comments

  1. Nice web log, would of created the blog bit longer, loved reading it though.

  2. Thanks for the comment. Lots of folks email me comments, but few post. A question: what do you mean by ‘would of created the blog bit longer’? Love to know. Thanks again!

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